I wish to thank Dave for the initial editing of this chapter. And I'd like all of you to turn your good thoughts and prayers to
him and his partner. I don't know what's happening with him. He hasn't answered the last couple of my e-mails. But I hope
they are doing okay.
I'd like to also thank Ben for all of his generous help in straightening out the mess I made of this ceremony. I'll tell you all right now if it wasn't for his input my stories would be half as exciting. Thanks, Ben.
NOTE: It seems I've caused bit of confusion with the names of the Paolini men. Dave's Joe started out being Joe Jr., which
would make his father Joe Sr. And then I added the Family Patriarch, Joe Sr.'s dad, who I called Old Joe way back about
chapter 35. So why isn't Dave's Joe a trey? Well, the patriarch was born in Italy and his given name is Giuseppe. His son
was born in the USA and named Joseph Paul Paolini and his son, Dave's Joe, was given the same name which makes him a
junior. Henceforth, the old man will be called Papa Joe, his son Joe Sr. and Dave's Joe simply Joe. And Joe's nephew will
still be Joseph. I hope that clears it all up. And again Thanks Ben.
THOSE GOLDEN EYES
Angie heard the Chief of Police direct his men to bring Tim back in. She smiled, knowing that she'd caught Johnny, who hadn't realized that Tim had actually left the house, and told him to get into his place and now she'd get Tim into place and everything would continue to run smoothly.
Johnny, feeling light-headed and a little jittery, walked out the back door, across the back of the group of friends and family to his assigned spot to wait for the ceremony to begin. Deirdre had really shaken him. And the look on Tim's face had him feeling like the night they first got together and he'd ended up locking the bathroom door. His stomach was in knots. He was feeling guilty for not rushing across the room to assure Tim. He hoped his mother knew what she was doing.
Tim's parents and Johnny's dad, unaware that Angie was dealing with a crisis, were sitting at the kitchen table calmly talking while waiting for the word from Angie to proceed to their places. Miki, Johnny's oldest sister, who was already seated, sensed that there was a hang up in the proceedings. She excused herself from her husband's side and scurried into the house to find her mother looking out the front door. "Mom what's going on?"
Angie looked at her daughter, and let out her exasperation. "That damned Deirdre showed up. She barged in on Johnny. In all the arguing with her, Tim stuck his nose into the room at the moment that she told Johnny that he'd let himself be seduced by a faggot. Tim ran."
"Oh damn. Poor Tim. But I just saw Johnny waiting in place outside. Why didn't he go after Tim."
"I stopped him. Chief Wilson ordered the patrol outside to pick Tim up and bring him back in." She glanced out the door. "Here they come now. Everything will be fine now. I'll take care of Tim. Go back out and act like nothing has happened."
Miki hurried back out and smiled at a nervous-looking Johnny, as she went back to her seat. Moments later the music
started, she turned to see if Tim was in place. He wasn't. She twisted her hanky nervously as she kept looking back.~~~
The opening strains of music could be heard in the backyard when the two policemen stepped into the house with Tim between them. Angie was waiting for them."Oh, there you are." she said, as she stepped up to Tim as he came through the door. She acted as though nothing extraordinary had happened. "Johnny is already in place waiting for you." She straightened his bow tie and cummerbund, and tugged on his jacket. "Go. It's time," she said giving him a pat on his tush.
Tim didn't move. He shook his head, feeling that he'd just stepped through a time warp or into another world whose reality was different than his. "Johnny's changed his mind. That woman in the red dress...."
"Tim. Tim," Angie interrupted him. "Johnny was just in shock that she burst in on him."
"He didn't try to stop me from leaving."
Angie looked exasperated. "I stopped him. I'm not about to let both of you silly men run out of my house and ruin all these lovely plans. He's standing right out side that door waiting for you to join him. Now go." She slapped him on the butt a good bit harder. Tim moved reluctantly.~~~
Johnny was watching Miki and getting more nervous himself by the moment. Where was Tim? God, he wished everyone
would stop turning to look back at him Just as he decided to go back inside and see what the hold up was, Tim stepped out
the back door. He did not look happy. Johnny grimaced to himself. Maybe this was all a mistake. Hell, no it wasn't, this is
exactly what he and Tim both wanted. He smiled at Tim and raised his hand to his ear.~~~
Tim stepped out the back door and looked across the yard for Johnny. He was there, looking a little hesitant Tim thought.. Johnny did a Carol Burnett ear pull with a big grin on his face, hoping Tim would get the message. Tim sighed with relief, grinned back at him and did the same to his nose. Everything was going to be okay. He watched his parents, followed by Johnny's, walk down the center aisle and sit on each side on the front row.
As he walked down the aisle he passed Chief Wilson and saw that horrible woman in the red dress was sitting between him and his wife. He did a double take when he noticed that she was handcuffed him. She glared at him as he passed. At this point he felt no malice toward her. Johnny was his man. And in a few minutes he was going to declare that to the world. Tim smiled at her.
Angie had pushed the young policeman that had stopped Tim on the sidewalk out the door with Tim. He accompanied Tim to the front of the assembled audience. He stopped and smartly took an 'at ease' stance at the end of the aisle, beaming proudly to be part of this occasion. Tim continued his walk alone. Johnny had turned the corner at the same moment that Tim had. Their eyes sought each other and connected and everyone else disappeared. They met in the center under an arbor laced with ivy and creamy white roses. They joined hands, their eyes still locked. They were in a world of their own, communicating silently.
Someone coughed. Tim blinked. Johnny closed his eyes and then after getting his thoughts straight, turned and looked at the assembly of friends and family. He quietly cleared his throat and in a clarion baritone voice said, "Before I start I'd like to publicly thank one person. This morning I was questioning whether what I am about to do was the right thing. Thank you, Deirdre Wilson, for removing all doubts and making me realize that I have made the right choice."
He caught her eye and smiled. She looked like she should have a dark thundercloud over her head. He turned back to Tim. "Timothy Robert Corbin, the day I met you, I knew that we are meant to spend our lives together. Until that momentous day I had wasted a lot of time searching. For what? I did not know. I never expected it to be a man and I fought against it. I am eternally grateful to you for your patience. Here, before our families and friends, I declare my undying love for you. I humbly offer you my life and love. You are my soul's mate for eternity."
"As you are mine,"Tim said just loud enough for Johnny and their parents to hear. Johnny took a simple gold band which he'd ben holding tightly in his fist and slipped it on Tim's finger. He raised Tim's hand and kissed the ring. He looked up at Tim who had tears in his eyes. "I love you," he whispered. And then he turned to those assembled. "This man is mine."
Tim blushed, that had been impromptu. He turned to gaze at the people gathered to witness their declaration, filled with pride and love that Johnny would go so far. He turned to look at his father and mother sitting three feet away. They both smiled up at him. He could see in that brief moment that they had finally accepted him. He grinned at them and raised his eyes and saw that Deirdre was looking at him. Her look said that she had realized finally that Johnny was sincere in his commitment and that Tim was possibly deserving of it.
He smiled. "Some of you I know well, some of you I have only met, and some of you I look forward to meeting. Whichever category you are in, I want you each to know that before I met this man standing beside me, I thought I had only two choices of how to live my life. A life as the world thinks of gay people, never settling for one person or I could live a life of chastity. I didn't like the idea of a life of wantonness so I had resigned myself to a chaste loveless life. And then one evening Dave Gates was kidnaped and that changed my whole life. Detective Paolini came in to take my report and my life hasn't been the same since." he grinned and glanced at his man who was blushing. "One look into John's eyes and I knew that my life from that day on would be filled with love."
He turned back to Johnny. "John Alexander Paolini, I humbly accept your offer and give you my life and love in return. I shall cherish every moment with you. You are my soul's mate forever, through all eternity."
"And I accept yours, Tim. I will cherish you for just as long." Johnny replied. Tim took the ring he'd slipped into his jacket pocket and slid it onto Johnny's finger. He kissed the ring. And followed Johnny's lead by turning to the audience and announcing, "This man is mine."
The two men then leaned into each other to seal their words with a kiss. A kiss that ended up anything but chaste. A deep sonorous voice shouted. "Hear, hear." It sounded like Chief Wilson. It was picked up and repeated until the whole assemblage was shouting "Hear, hear." And then over the cheering, the startling introductory clarion notes of the Ride of the Valkyries rang out. The selection for the digression was so unexpected that the assemblage momentarily stopped cheering. Tim and Johnny grinned. They raised their clasped hands above their heads as they triumphantly walked up the center isle and into the house, as everyone again cheered and clapped.
As the crowd rose and started to mill about, a herd of caterers moved in. They quickly moved the chairs to encircle the tables that were already set around the edge of the large yard. A white rose bouquet was set in the center of each table. Buffets filled with gourmet delicacies and delights were set up on the wide veranda along with tubs of iced champagne and beer and a mixed drink bar. A round table with a four-tiered wedding cake stood in the midst of it all. At the other end of the lawn, under the bower where Johnny and Tim had said their vows to each other, a string quartet played old classic love songs. ~~~
Chief Wilson had quietly escorted a recalcitrant Deirdre out the front door to her car. Once she was seated behind the wheel and the door closed, he leaned down and told her that she had shamed him once again with her antics, and that if she showed her face around this area again before the party was over his men had instructions to arrest her for trespassing, and that she would sit in jail overnight, because he would not bail her out until the following afternoon. ~~~
Jake searched the crowd for his lover. He knew that if he spotted Dave Gates, Charley was sure to be near by. And he knew that if he saw Joe Paolini that Dave would be next to him. Ahh! The whole Paolini family was just off the terrace along with Dave's mother and brother-in-law. It was Rence Reville that made them easy to spot as tall as he was, to say nothing of his difference in color.
Jake soon spotted his man standing on the terrace watching the whole crowd. As he watched Charley, he saw Dave walk up to him and say something. Charley's attitude visibly changed. He went from extreme alert to relaxed in moments. Jake saw him scan the crowd and automatically raised his hand. Charley spotted him and grinned. He raised his hand and made a 'come here' motion with it.
It took a couple of minutes for Jake to wend his way through the crowd to get to Charley, who wrapped a possessive arm around his shoulders and kissed the side of his head where the hair was just beginning to cover the scars that Robert had given him.
"It's time to show you off." he whispered in Jake's ear. "I want to introduce you to some special people" ~~~
The party had spread out to the tables and a number of men in white jump suits carried four by four pieces of flooring into the center of the yard and fitted them together like pieces of a giant puzzle to create a dance floor.
Papa Joe, the Paolini patriarch, was comfortably ensconced at the main table with his nurse/companion beside him. He observed his young companion. Jim had caught sight of Jake and his new lover and was watching them. He was unaware that a single tear had escaped his eyes and coursed down his cheek unnoticed except by the old man.
"Which one is he?" Papa Joe asked.
Jim's relationship with the elderly man had reached such a plateau of trust that Jim answered without hesitation. "He's the big guy in the brown suit next to Mr. Gate's personal guard, the big blonde guy."
"He's a good looking man. Why did you let him get away?"
"You know what I did to him. Besides, I couldn't give him what he wanted and needed."
"And what was that, young Jim?" the old man asked.
Jim, in the months since Jake had gotten out of the hospital, had stopped playing games with himself. He had done a lot of soul-searching and had learned to be completely truthful with himself and with those around him. It still wasn't easy to admit the truth sometimes. He looked down at his fisted hands and then into the old man's watery eyes. "Love," he forced himself to say.
The elderly man strangled and cleared his throat noisily. He looked at Jim in consternation. "I think that's so much bullshit. You're the most caring companion I have had."
"Yeah, I am very caring for my patients. But I don't have it otherwise."
"You need to see a shrink. There's something wrong in your head." Papa Joe said in disgust.
Jim shrugged and continued to watch Jake. He deeply regretted what he had done to him and was thankful that Jake hadn't carried through his threat to castrate him. He was happy that Jake had found what he needed. 'God knows the man he found is everything one could want or need,' he thought to himself.
Papa Joe watched Jim for a few moments and then got up, unnoticed, wandered over to his son's side to congratulate his grandson, leaving Jim who was lost in his own thoughts sitting by himself. ~~~
Jason thought it would be fun to introduce his dad to Joe as though he was unaware of their lifetime friendship. But the tables got turned on him when Joe saw Fred and pulled him into a hug. Fred then introduced his son Jason to Joe. "You know I've studied Jason in the time I've known him and never figured out who he looked like until I saw you two together. I didn't know you had a son this old" Fred grinned. "There's a story here and I want to hear it sometime soon," Joe said.
Liz came up and greeted Joe and gave him a hug and a kiss on his cheek. "Where is that handsome partner of yours, Joe?" she asked.
"He's in the midst of this melee somewhere. Look for a tall blonde cop-type and Dave will be just below him."
Liz looked around. "That handsome man with his arm around the good-looking dark headed man?" she asked pointing.
"That's them. The blonde is Charley Hill and the other is his lover Jake Shipman."
"I thought he looked familiar. He signed my copy of his book at Dave's store." She turned to Jason. "Why didn't you tell me that your Jake was Jake Shipman?" Jason grinned and shrugged. "Well, I must go say hi to Dave and introduce myself to Jake all over again," she said and left the three men to visit some more. ~~~
Arlen wandered over to the side of the yard where he could see the fellow with the Paolini patriarch. When the old man wandered over to join the family, leaving his companion by himself, Arlen moved to where he was in the fellow's line of sight. When the fellow looked up, Arlen smiled at him and nodded. The fellow did the same. Arlen walked over and asked, "May I?" as he sat down beside him.
"Sure, no one else is sitting here now,"
"My name is Arlen," he said as he offered his hand.
"Jim." The fellow took his hand. Arlen had thought he'd feel something special. He experienced nothing more than a warm, firm handshake. "It's nice to meet you, Jim. You and I seem to be on the fringes of "the family"." He used his fingers to indicate quotes.
Jim tilted his head and looked at him and then looked around. Even Jake and Charley were in the midst of the family talking and acting like it was their rightful place. He turned back and nodded. "Yeah, I guess you are right. Even my ex is right in there with his new lover."
"I would never have thought you are Gay."
Jim raised an eyebrow. "That disturbs you?"
"On the contrary. I was hoping you are," Arlen laughed.
Jim nodded and smiled.
"Which one is your ex?" Arlen asked.
"The big good looking guy with stitches on the sides of his head. He's with that tall handsome blonde. The one that looks like a cop."
"You don't mean Jake and Charley, do you?"
"You know them, huh?"
"Yeah, I know them. They lived with my friends Pete and Jason until a couple of weeks ago."
"Pete and Jason? And they never told you about me?"
Arlen looked at him a moment. "Oh m'God. You're that Jim."
"Yeah, the stupid ex RN that drugged and raped his lover because he thought he'd like it, and ended up nearly killing him." He paused and studied Arlen to see how he reacted. Arlen just sat there looking thoughtful. Jim decided that he'd push him away rather that be rejected. "So now you know which Jim I am, why don't you just go back to you friends."
Arlen ignored the brush off and said, "You know, while everyone was saying, "Oh poor Jake," I was wondering how you were taking it. I think you were rather lucky. The backlash wasn't as bad as it could have been. So how have you fared?"
"Why would you care? Of what interest is it to you, college boy?"
"Hostility doesn't become you. You were a nice guy there for a few minutes. I liked that guy."
Jim grimaced and turned away. "You don't know that guy or what he's capable of."
"So you're not going to give me a chance to know you."
"Why would you want to?" Jim demanded.
" Jim, Jake himself says your kink just got a little out of hand. Yeah, it was stupid playing with drugs. You didn't know what Jake's physical reaction would be. You've paid for it, so give yourself a break."
Jim turned back and studied Arlen who smiled at him. "You're not just some smart-assed college kid, are you?"
"Yeah, I am." Arlen grinned at him.
"I like you. How old are you?"
"I'm nineteen. My birthday is in December."
"Why would you be interested in me when you have all those young college studs available?"
"Well, for one thing, they're all smart-ass college kids and don't know anymore than I do."
"I'm eight years older than you."
"Good point. Look at my dad and mom. That's them sitting with Dave and Joe. Dad's sixteen years older than Mom and they have been together twenty-three years."
Jim watched the couple that Arlen had pointed out. It was obvious that the woman adored her husband. He turned back to Arlen. "Are you going to be as handsome as your dad when you get to his age?"
Arlen gave him a sassy grin. "Probably better looking I've got my mom's genes, too."
Jim looked back at her. "She is a beautiful woman."
"Is that a round about compliment, Jim?"
Jim's countenance became grave as he studied Arlen. "Fuck, you're probably the best looking dude at this shindig," he said.
"You're cute, too, when you get embarrassed."
Arlen folded his arms, scooted down a bit in his chair and stared straight ahead. Jim followed suit. Their shoulders and knees were touching and neither man moved away. Thus they sat and people watched, comfortable enough together to not have to fill the silence between them with words. Arlen's heart was doing flips, while Jim's beat steadily, happily. He was having a hard time believing this handsome young man had moved in on him. ~~~
Pete nudged Jason and pointed with his chin. Jason turned to look. "Oh m'god, leave it to Arlen."
"Can you believe they're just sitting there like an old married couple? Jim's sure not the same man that came to take care of me a few months ago."
"I know. I just wonder if he can let Arlen in. Jake could never get past his blockades." Jason said.
"Well, if anyone can get through to him it would be Arlen. He only has to wag his tail and look at him with his big puppy dog eyes."
"It's disgusting." Jason grinned belying the words. "They look like they've been together for years sitting there with those self satisfied smiles smeared on their face." ~~~
David and Eve sat at a table in the corner of the yard watching everyone having a good time. They had danced several numbers. Johnny had insisted on a dance with Eve, and since it was a slow one, David asked his mother to dance.
"You and Eve seem to be getting pretty serious." Mary commented.
"I asked her what she'd say if I proposed."
"Oh," Mary thought he'd tell her what Eve's response was, but David was looking introspective ans they continued around the floor. Finally she asked, "So what was her response?"
David startled out of his revery and blushed. "She said I'd have to ask to find out."
They danced on. Mary waiting for her son to tell her more. When he didn't, she said, "I'd take that a positive response."
David's sole response was, "Yeah." The dance ended and he escorted his mother back to his Dad's side.
Lloyd stood up and held out a hand to his son. David took it and was pulled into a hug. "Watching you makes' me so proud. I love you, Son."
David hugged his dad wondering what had brought on this show of emotion. Lloyd let him go and David thanked his mom and wandered off to find Eve.~~~
Max and Joseph, as soon as the ceremony was over had disappeared to the back of the yard and into the gazebo.
Tim and Johnny reappeared dressed in matching black pinstriped suits, silver grey dress shirts and red and black diagonal striped ties. The women and gay guys made much to do about how striking they were, while all the straight men just looked uncomfortable and slightly envious.
Joe Sr., Johnny's dad, made the first toast. "My friends, for a long time I worried about Johnny finding a suitable mate. When he introduced Tim to the family, I knew he had not only found a suitable partner, he had found his soul mate. Johnny, Tim, here is to a long and happy life together. And Tim, I want you to know I am proud to accept you as my new son."
There was much applause and cheering. And then Tim's dad stood up. The crowd hushed. Many knew of the antipathy that he and his wife had toward their son's homosexuality. No one knew what he would say. They prayed that he wouldn't embarrass Tim in front of his friends and new family. Tim held his breath and squeezed Johnny's hand under the table.
"For those of you who do not know me, I am the other father-in-law. Tim, my son, I want you to know that I am very proud of you today. Despite all the opposition that your mother and I threw at you, you held true to yourself. Although, we've had a difficult time accepting your preferences, we have always loved you and will continue to love you no matter what. May you and John have a long life together and may it be filled with love and joy. John, welcome into our family and thank you for bringing us back together with our son. And Dave, thank you for making us realize how skewed our thinking was."
Johnny grinned and hugged Tim's neck with one arm. Dave just bowed his head. Tim had tears running down his face. "Thanks, Dad." he called out as everyone clapped and cheered.
There were many more toasts and well-wishings. Tim stood after the last toast. He clinked a knife against the edge of his glass. When everyone quieted and was looking at him he spoke.
"I would just like to give recognition and my gratitude to my new mother-in-law, Angie, and my two sisters-in law, Miki and Eve, for giving Johnny and I this wonderful party. And...and for making us dress like bookends. Thankfully both the tuxes and the suits are rented. Thanks, Ladies."
As Tim sat down, Johnny stood. He raised his glass to his mother and sisters.
"Yes, thanks Mom, Miki, Eve. This is marvelous. And thanks to each and every one of you for coming to help make this such a wonderful time."
The cake was cut and served. Angie took the two grooms off the top of it and the top little layer into the house to freeze for their first anniversary.
The honeymoon wasn't to be until Tim went on spring break. As the afternoon wore down Dave and Joe each individually asked Johnny and Tim to stop up at the Eyrie before going home. They left early to make sure their surprise was ready.
Papa Joe walked over to the table where Jim and Arlen still sat. "You two, go home. My son can help me get to bed tonight."
"Are you sure, Papa?" Jim asked.
"Would I waste words? He was the one to suggest it."
Jim grinned, shook his head at the ol' curmudgeon, rose from the chair and offered a hand to Arlen. "Care to join me?"
Arlen grinned. "Damned right. Just let me say good night to Mom and Dad."~~~
When Dave and Joe left, Dave told Charley to stay and enjoy the party, he and Joe were going directly to the Tower. Jake thanked Dave for letting him have his man to himself for a bit. Charley sat down for the first time that evening. They stayed with Johnny and Tim until the last of the guests had left.
They crawled into bed. This night Jake pulled Charley up against his chest. Charley wiggled his butt getting Jake settled comfortably. They were both too tired to do more than snuggle, but they loved snuggling almost as much as anything else. Jake kissed his lover behind his ear, and Charley leaned his head back for more with a little groan. "You're awfully quiet tonight. What's on your mind?" Jake asked.
"Just thinking," Charley said, with a sigh.
Do you want to share your thoughts?"
Charley lay still for a moment and then turned over in Jake's arms. "I get the feeling Jake, that you don't like my occupation."
Jake thought a moment of how to answer the unspoken question. "Well, it's a job I wouldn't want, but you like it and your good at it. So is there a problem?"
"I don't know. When you thanked Dave for letting you have some time with me you made a joke of it, but I got the feeling that you kind of resented me having to work."
Jake drew in a deep breath and let it out slowly. "I suppose there is a bit of desire to have you all to myself. But you've got to understand one thing, Charley. The thrill of seeing you standing in the midst of the crowd, alert to everything that is happening, makes me so proud that you chose me as your mate. And it makes me so horny that I'd just like you to tear my clothes off me and fuck me, right there in front of God and everybody."
Charley pulled Jake uptight against himself and ground his hard cock against Jakes. "How would you like to get fucked right now, Babe?"
"I thought you were too tired and just wanted to sleep."
"Do you think that I could sleep knowing that my man needs me?"
"I love you, Charley. Fuck me hard. Make me know that I am yours."
Jake rolled onto his back as Charley moved between his legs. Charley growled. "Oh yeah, I'm going to claim my man, and make him happy."~~~
Timothy lay in bed with his wife, Edie, enfolded snugly against his chest. "That was a nice ceremony wasn't it?"
"It was beautiful. Johnny's mother and sisters really did it up grand." Edie said.
"Dave and Joe were right, you were the best dressed woman there. You really turned heads."
"Oh, how you go on."
"You're still as beautiful as the day I met you, Sweetheart.
"I'm sorry I tried to hide it for so long. It was a sin to do that. That born again preacher sure had my head filled with a lot of nonsense. I nearly lost my son and I have a feeling that if I'd persisted in believing his hateful lies I'd lost you too."
"Well, I don't know about that." Timothy weakly protested.
"Anyway, it's wonderful that you are amorous again. I really missed that."
"I did 'too, my love." he kissed her.
"There's certainly a lot of love in this family that we've become part of."
They lay wrapped in their individual thought for a few minutes.
"It's hard to believe that Joe and Dave gave that condo above us to Tim and Johnny as a wedding present." Edie said breaking the silence.
"I wonder just how wealthy those two guys are. I would think that condo has to be worth over a million dollars."
"Angie, Johnny's mother, told me that Dave inherited the entire Way Fortune. And it's worth many billions of dollars. Dave's suppose to be one of the richest men in the world."
"You certainly wouldn't know it just talking to him. If I met him on the street I'd assume he didn't have a thousand bucks to his name," Timothy said.
"He put Joe's name onto everything he owns."
"They are more married than our son is to Johnny."~~~
Tim and Johnny discussed at length what Joe and Dave might be up to as they drove across town to the Tower. "I can't believe those two are staying up so late just to give us a private present."
Tim laughed. "It's only about nine- thirty, John. It's just been a long day. Knowing those two you can be sure it will be something unexpected and grand." Tim sighed. "I still haven't gotten over Dave finding the El Camino and giving it to me. That took a lot effort, you know."
Johnny nodded in agreement and squeezed Tim's right hand which he held on the seat between them. He raised it and kissed his knuckles. Tim took his eyes off the road for a moment to smile his love at Johnny.
"You're so special, Tim. I am amazed that you wanted to marry me."
"And why wouldn't I want to? You're everything I want. The only one I want. I love you, Johnny."
"You know I love you, Babe."
Tim steered the sleek pickup into a guest parking slip in the underground garage. They silently went into the lobby and greeted the guard on duty.
"Congratulations, you two. May you have a long and happy life together." The guard was grinning like Alice's Cheshire. They didn't suspect that it was because he was in on the surprise that Dave and Joe had for them.
"Thanks, Troy. Give you wife our regards." Johnny said as they got into the elevator to the Eyrie. When the elevator stopped, they broke their kiss and stepped out into the foyer of the thirtieth floor.
"What the hell? This isn't the Eyrie. " Johnny exclaimed. There was a huge white bow adhered to the door of the Condo that faced the mountains. The door was ajar. The two men cautiously pushed the door open to see that the place was furnished in the luxurious taste that Joe excelled in. In the center of the entryway set a silver Champagne Bucket with a bottle of Dom Perignon chilling in the ice. Attached to a bow around the neck of the bottle was a card.
Tim took the card and opened it. He gasped.
"So what does it say?"
Tim could only hand the card to Johnny, he was too emotional to speak.
Johnny read it aloud. "A white picket fence 'round a little cottage quaint/this place certainly ain't./High in the sky/Where the eagles fly/ make your nest/And in your own Eyrie may you love and rest.
We know our poetry sucks, but it's the thought that counts. We love you and hope you share many joy filled years with us
in your new home. Come up for coffee tomorrow morning." Dave and Joe.
"Damn, I never expected anything like this. They even gave us our choice of this place or the one across the way and we didn't even realize it. The sneaky bastards," Johnny raved.
"I can't believe this." Tim said walking around touching everything. He looked twice at a chair by the fireplace, and then examined it more closely.
"Johnny this is the chair that you and I bought when we rented the apartment."
"It sure looks like it."
"It is. Here is the wine stain I couldn't get out. Remember when you attacked my neck without warning and I had a glass of Chardonnay in my hand?"
"It is our chair."
As they looked around they recognized more of their own furnishing. The dining room set was new, but their old dinette set was in the breakfast nook in the kitchen.
"They had our whole apartment moved up here this afternoon."
In the den they found the rest of their livingroom furniture. But a huge new Plasma televison screen with a Bose surround sound system had replaced their old tv.
In the bedroom they discovered their old tv already set up so they could watch it from their new California king bed that was covered in a spread of soft black leather.
"I guess your brother suspects how kinky we are, huh?" Tim joked as he sat on the bed and rubbed his hand over the leather.
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